2011 MLB Draft: Houston Astros Review
George Springer is a terrific pick at the top, and the rest of the class has much to offer as well.
1) George Springer, OF, Connecticut: Big power, runs well, throws well, does just about everything. Although raw compared to some college players, he's made good progress with his swing mechanics and has enormous upside. Impact talent.
2) Adrian Houser, RHP, Oklahoma HS: Overshadowed by Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley in OK prep ranks, but a fine prospect in his own right with a plus fastball and a good curve. Needs development time but high upside. Oklahoma commitment.
3) Jack Armstrong, RHP, Vanderbilt: Injuries and a deep Vandy staff kept him from seeing much action this spring. Very athletic, live arm, but still rather raw. Wild card talent.
4) Chris Lee, LHP, Santa Fe CC: Low 90s fastball, good slider, should be signable in this spot even though he's a freshman.
5) Nick Tropeano, RHP, Stony Brook: Mediocre fastball, decent slider, terrific changeup and sharp command resulted in 12-1, 1.84 ERA, 119/24 K/BB in 93 innings, 63 hits. Physical upside limited but very polished.
6) Brandon Meredith, OF, San Diego State: Solid tools, college performance erratic but he does draw walks, has some power and speed. Nice speculative pick in this round.
7) Javaris Reynolds, OF, Florida HS: Florida prep is raw, runs well, has power potential, but needs to refine strike zone judgment and swing mechanics. Good upside for a seventh round pick.
8) Brandon Culbreth, RHP, North Carolina HS: Average velocity and raw right now, but projectable. If he doesn't sign and goes to North Carolina State, he could be a much higher draft pick in 2014.
9) Jonas Dufek, RHP, Creighton: Senior with average stuff, but throws strikes with clean mechanics and performed very well this year, 12-2, 2.08 ERA, 128/29 K/BB in 113 innings.
10) Kyle Hallock, LHP, Kent State University: Another senior with average stuff but a great feel for pitching, 10-4, 1.95 ERA, 88/26 K/BB in 106 innings. Occasionally out-pitched teammate Andrew Chafin.
OTHERS OF NOTE: OF Justin Gominsky (11th round, Minnesota) never lived up to expectations in college but has good overall tools and could blossom in pro ball. RHP Gandy Stubbefield (14th round, Texas HS) is projectable and already has a 90 MPH fastball. If he attends Texas A&M, he could go much higher in '14 draft. OF Billy Flamion (25th round, California HS) was a possible first round pick at one point but is now expected to attend college at Oregon. OF Dominique Taylor (33rd round, Salt Lake CC) has excellent speed and decent power and could be a steal.
SUMMARY: A solid draft. Springer is an excellent choice, and the three subsequent pitchers have high upside arm strength. The rest of the draft balances upside with polish. Refined pitchers Trofeano, Dufek and Hallock provide some farm system depth and leaven the raw upside choices. Overall I like this, especially if they can sign Strubbefield or Flamion to overslot deals.